Please share your account of how your personal healthcare experience has motivated you to be an active patient advocate?
After being on dialysis for 10 years, I got married and soon after my wife told me she wanted to give me her kidney. The operation took place a year later after all the checks were completed at the General Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. They way in which the Dr & nurses there took care of me and spent time explaining step by step what to do and why, was the reason why I do what I do today. I started out helping them speak to future patients and then WHO stepped in and trained me and several others and helped set up the Patient for Patients Safety Malaysia. My story has been a positive one about healthcare and I want to show people that although adverse incidents fill the media, there are more successes than failures in Healthcare.
In your opinion, how compassion and empathy can improve the delivery of person-centric care?
I speak to thousands of people yearly in conferences. And I’ve discovered this, its NOT the diploma on the wall behind the Dr but actually the time he/she spends Listening to patients that makes the difference. Drs expect patients to trust them Instantly and Fully but only those who spend a bit more time to listen to these patients are able to achieve this. And it’s only when these Drs are genuinely compassionate that the patients are able to trust them with their lives.
How is the industry embracing the patient power? Your thoughts on ways in which healthcare providers open the door to patients and show them they are valuable partners?
NOT ENOUGH. Just saying it doesn’t work. In areas where patients are frightened and inundated with information on their health concerns from Google, Family, Media etc, sometimes they look at Healthcare as the opponent and not partner. The industry has to engage them and the best way is to understand them ie use other patients as advocates and engage with them. Build systems and processes where other Patients can take on roles within Non Clinical dept eg Communications etc. This is not being done enough.
Optimum Patient – provider communication is the need of the hour. In your opinion how can healthcare organizations ensure that authentic patient voices permeate decision-making and strategy?
I’ haven’t heard and seen the processes of one of these organisations yet. It’s essential that these organisations Hire Patient Advocacy experts and create projects that showcase this. It may not be perfect but it is a step in the right direction. I find that still many of them don’t trust patients but expect to be trusted.
As a speaker at PXEC, what are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to engaging with Healthcare Providers who are keen to engage and tap into Patient Advocacy groups and utilise patients to better systems and processes within their own organisations. Ultimately, we are looking at Transforming Healthcare.